October 14th

Prodigal Comes Home

11Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. 12The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. 13"Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17"When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' 20So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21"The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. ' 22"But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate.  Luke 15:11-23 NIV 

The story of the prodigal son illustrates how loving and merciful God can be with us when we’ve gone astray.  No matter how far into sin we may have strayed, God joyfully welcomes us back when we repent from the sin.   

It’s hard to imagine a father like that, isn’t it?  The story might sound more realistic if the father greeted the wayward son with an “I told you so” and made him work to repay the inheritance he wasted.   After we’ve sinned, we might think God is like the sulking father waiting for us to come home so he can yell at us.  No, God is happy to see us and doesn’t condemn us when we return to him.  Instead, he throws a party and blesses us with honor we don’t deserve.   

Why does God do this?  It is because of his great love for us that is beyond our human understanding.  He loved us so much that he prepaid for our forgiveness with Jesus’ blood so that there would be no wrath against us for our sin.  It is his joy to welcome us home and help us live as the blessed children of God that he designed us to be.   

The story doesn’t stop there.  Once we’ve returned home, we are obligated to live under the standards of his house.   As any good parent would, God has established guidelines (his word) that he expects us to live by now that we’ve returned home.  The challenge is to die to the pleasures of the world that we’ve tasted, and embrace the path of righteousness that God will guide us on.   

Too often we’re fooled by the enemy to think that we can live as a “carnal Christian” – i.e. live for God and sin’s pleasures.   The result is that instead of living as a son of God, we live like a slave to sin.  Paul wrote, “Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (Galatians 4:7 NKJV).   When we agree with God and live in the reality of who he says we are, we’ll start to realize the wonderful benefits of our inheritance.   

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Heavenly Father, Thank you for welcoming me back home with open arms and joy!  Your love is so amazing, Lord and I am unworthy of it. Thank you for your forgiveness and mercy through the blood of Jesus.  I embrace your ways, O God and commit to walking in them. Please strengthen me to live as a son and not as a slave to sin any longer.  I am forever grateful for the mercy and love you have shown me.  I praise you now and forever, Amen!”